The listing of risks to preservation (Figure 19) leaves unanswered the public policy question of whether it is better to focus preservation and protection efforts on sites nearly lost, or on sites where pristine landscape remains well-preserved and the Civil War setting is evoked easily. There are important arguments to be made for either approach.
The low risk, good condition sites often lend themselves to a high degree of protection and preservation with minimum costs and least disruption of local people while resulting in retention of the highest quality historic sites.
On the other hand, the high risk, poor condition sites generally would require higher costs and often more difficult resolution of competing interests. However, these sites represent historic events of great importance, and if action is not taken soon, there will not even be site fragments remaining to commemorate the former existence of these battle locations, notwithstanding the fact that preservation opportunities may already be gone.
Similarly, there are good reasons to choose an intermediate category of risk as the primary focus -- for example, sites that are in good-to-fair condition but under moderate levels of threat, or sites that are in poor-to-fair condition experiencing yet greater levels of threat. The rationale here is that sites in the intermediate risk categories represent problems that are manageable, while good condition, low threat sites can wait longer, and lost or poor condition sites under extreme threats may not be worth the cost,
The answer to which approach is preferable is not one the National Park Service can provide as a result of analysis. This is a policy choice that will depend to a large degree on which combination of the preservation alternatives outlined below is chosen, and on what sort of public consensus exists for protecting Shenandoah Valley Civil War battlefields.
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Creation Date: 3/23/95